Thursday Practice: Getting Healthy

The Trojans put the finishing touches on the game plan during a short practice on Thursday, before boarding a plane and heading to Columbus. Look inside for all the news, notes and plenty of injury updates from Thursday's practice.

Limiting Distractions

The Trojans put the finishing touches on the game plan during a short practice on Thursday, before boarding a plane and heading to Columbus.

"Everybody is really excited about going on this trip. It's the first time that we get a chance to go away and we have talked about how we want to do this," Carroll said. "Everybody understands that this is going to be a lot of fun and exciting trip.

"We are going a day early so we can have a great Friday of preparation."

The ‘Collision in Columbus' as the game has been dubbed is one of the most anticipated games of the college football season, and with all the hype comes plenty of distractions.

"We have to handle the trip well and make sure that everybody stays focused and in tune with what we are doing," he said.

Carroll said one of the major pitfalls of playing on the road is opportunity for a team to lose focus.

"Teams get screwed up and they don't pay attention to what's going on and they aren't focused, but these guys are not going to be like that, they never are," he said. "They know what we do and how we do this."

Trojans' Getting Healthy

The Trojans look to be getting healthy at the perfect time, as many of the players that missed time this week with various bumps and bruises participated on Thursday and will play against the Buckeyes.

Kris O'Dowd, Jurrell Casey, Brian Baucham, and Averell Spicer are all expected to play on Saturday.

O'Dowd, who missed the season opener with a dislocated kneecap, practiced with the first-team offense and will likely start at center on Saturday.

"It looks like Kris O'Dowd is going to play," Carroll said. "That's what we are counting on."

With the return of O'Dowd, sixth-year senior Jeff Byers will move back to left guard and Alex Parsons will start at right guard.

The defensive line will get a big boost from the return of defensive tackle Averell Spicer, who was held out of the opener with an ankle injury.

"Averell is playing. He is going to start in nickel and rotate in, and be in the rotations throughout the game," Carroll said. "He had a really good week. He looks very good."

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey missed two days of practice this week but returned on Wednesday and will also be available this weekend.

Cornerbacks Brian Baucham and Kevin Thomas were sick earlier this week but will play. Thomas will start.

Hot Reads

- Linebacker Luthur Brown didn't play against San Jose State after regaining his eligibility last week, but Carroll said the senior is now ready to contribute.

"Luthur is going to play in this game. He's ready to go," Carroll said. "He is in all of the special teams and he's involved and ready to get back into the action."

- The Trojans are heading into Ohio Stadium with a freshman quarterback, so getting the running game on track will be critical to taking some pressure off Matt Barkley.

"This situation, it would be nice to get that part of our game going," Carroll said. "It will help us in the passing game and make them have to focus on slowing us down. If we are able to do that it will really help the whole football team."

- Tailback Marc Tyler limped off the field and didn't return after a teammate stepped on his foot. Carroll didn't know the extent of the injury.

"Because of our situation we have had Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler running for us the last couple days to give us a real good look in preparation for this running game and those guys have been getting pounded around a little bit," Carroll said.

- Offensive lineman Butch Lewis returned to practice after wearing a boot on his left ankle on Wednesday. Carroll didn't know if Lewis would be available to play on Saturday.

- Pete Carroll was going to meet with team doctors after practice to see if safety Drew McAllister was able to make the trip. We will update you on McAllister's status from the Trojans' Friday walkthrough at Ohio Stadium.

Defensive tackle Averell Spicer will play against Ohio State.

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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at Top Stories